Deceptive & Fraudelent Marketing is Rife In Pet Training
In the pet training industry, some companies offer “lifetime guarantees,” yet this is essentially unethical as no behavior can be independently controlled and therefore “guaranteed.” By its very nature, behavior is a voluntary or involuntary reaction or action to the individual’s environment and is, thus, a variable factor.
In its Statement of Ethics, The American Marketing Association (2019) speaks to “ethical norms” such as the following:
- Do no harm. This means consciously avoiding harmful actions or omissions by embodying high ethical standards and adhering to all applicable laws and regulations in the choices we make.
- Foster trust in the marketing system. This means striving for good faith and fair dealing so as to contribute toward the efficacy of the exchange process as well as avoiding deception in product design, pricing, communication, and delivery of distribution.
- Embrace ethical values. This means building relationships and enhancing consumer confidence in the integrity of marketing by affirming these core values: honesty, responsibility, fairness, respect, transparency and citizenship.
Ethics and law are certainly connected, but they are not the same. Indeed, some marketing practices are both unethical and illegal, while others are just unethical! According to Murphy et al. (2012), illegal marketing practices can be grouped and stratified (see below). We have supplemented these topics with information regarding the current oversight offered by various governing bodies.
Key Categories of Illegal Marketing Practices:
- Product Safety – Governed by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, charged to protect the public against unreasonable risks associated with a product.
- Deceptive Advertising – When advertising is deliberately misleading to consumers either by misrepresentation of a product’s features or a false claim. Deceptive advertising is regulated by the Federal Trade Commission.
- Bait and Switch Advertising – Also governed by the Federal Trade Commission, this covers the practice of advertising one product to coerce consumers into a business when there is no intention to actually sell that product but to sell a different, often more expensive product.
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